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The birth of a child is such an exciting time for parents. With joy and excitement can also come fear and anxiety as you learn to navigate the new transition of adding a family member and learning your new routine. You are experiencing huge life changes, and your body and mind have experienced many changes throughout a pregnancy.
Many new moms experience the “baby blues” after childbirth. This can include mood swings, crying spells, anxiety, as well as difficulty sleeping. For many women, this can last up to 3-5 days after giving birth. If you are still experiencing feelings of sadness or hopelessness for longer than 2 weeks, you may have postpartum depression.
It is unclear why some women develop postpartum depression and others do not. It is likely no single thing that causes rather a combination of factors that may lead up to the illness. The Mayo Clinic suggests the following factors:
– Sudden change in hormones immediately following childbirth
– Sleep deprivation
– Anxiety about your role as a new caregiver
– Difficulty breastfeeding
– Prior episodes of depression
– A lack of support from a partner or other loved ones
– Changes in blood volume, blood pressure, immune system, and metabolism can also contribute to fatigue and mood swings
If you feel like you are experiencing postpartum depression or a loved one may be, know that help is available and that it is not something you have to continue to struggle with. Getting help is the best thing you can do for yourself. Here are some options for you:
– Talk to your OB/GYN
– Seek help from a psychologist or other licensed mental health provider
– Join a support group from mothers—ask your healthcare provider for suggestions
– Get plenty of rest
– Utilize friends or family members for help
– Be realistic about what you can really do and try not to worry about unimportant tasks
– Create time for yourself
If you do find yourself experiencing any signs of postpartum depression make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor may be able to point you in the right direction to get you the support you need. Postpartum depression is not your fault. Help and support is available. Early detection and treatment can make all the difference.
Jill Haupts, Outreach Coordinator for The Kim Foundation
Jill Haupts is the Outreach Coordinator at The Kim Foundation. She received her bachelor’s degree in Child, Adult, and Family Services from Iowa State University in 2016. Jill joined the Kim Foundation in January coming from Des Moines, Iowa. Her previous experience includes volunteer recruitment and fundraising, as well as experience coordinating services and providing resources to adults who have a mental health diagnosis. Jill’s role in the foundation is coordinating event logistics, presenting and attending community fairs, as well as volunteer coordination and recruitment. She enjoys working in the nonprofit field and has a passion for advocacy and helping others.